A desire to produce a design support system for the early stages of electronic engineering design, has led to the conception of the Plymouth Engineer's Design Assistant (PEDA), pulling together experience from the three fields of computing, psychology and electronic engineering. The basic emphasis of this tool has been to use psychological techniques to analyze the cognitive aspects of designers in action and then make recommendations for design tool improvement. The results of the complementary psychological research, and other relevant literature are examined and potential avenues to realizing an improving design explored. A new idealized abstract representation of early electronic engineering is proposed, which is more in line witli the cognitive needs of designers, thus enabling the production of more capable design tools. The main points of the representation are discussed, and comparisons with other approaches and tools drawn. The abstract representation is then taken and used to form a specific implementation as the core to the PEDA tool. An overview of the PEDA tool is given, followed by a discussion regarding the important aspects of the implementation. Important issues and problems raised during the course of the research are discussed, together with suggestions for future work.

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